Home insurance coverage for your roof leak primarily depends on the cause of your leak and the state of your roof before the leak happened. This article will go over:

This article will cover:

Are roof leaks covered by home insurance?

A roof leak in your house is one of the common perils usually covered under the dwelling protection portion of your home insurance coverage. If damage from a windstorm, heavy snow, lightning or a fallen tree branch impacts your roof and results in water damage, your home insurance usually covers it for repair or replacement as needed.

Most standard home insurance policies are open peril. An open peril policy covers any event unless it's specifically excluded from your home insurance policy. Roof leaks are covered by your insurance if the leak is caused by a covered peril.

When are roof leaks not covered?

While the standard home insurance coverage provided for a roof leak is expansive, there are some exclusions to be aware of:

  • Normal wear and tear on a roof that can occur over time
  • If your roof is past its prime
  • Improper maintenance on the roof
  • Specific types of roof material are often not covered under your homeowners insurance. The most often excluded roof types are:
    • Wood shake
    • Slate
    • Recycled shingles
    • Metal
  • Rot, mold and animal damage as causes of a roof leak are not covered
  • Damage to your roof due to flood, hurricane or earthquake. Coverage for these three peril types may be gained through separate insurance policies.

Should I file a claim

Deciding whether or not to file a claim depends on the extent of the roof damage. Any home insurance claim you make is going to result in an increase in your premium. If you have a $1,500 deductible and the damages to your roof are $2,000, calculate if the hike in your premium after you file the claim is going to be worth it. If it is within your means, it may be a good idea to pay out of pocket. According to HomeAdvisor, the typical cost to repair a roof is between $376 and $1,660.

Settlement for a roof leak claim

If you're paid out based on the roof's replacement cost, you will receive a settlement based on what materials and man hours are required to fix the roof. If your home insurance policy pays the roof's actual cash value, you will be paid out equal to the depreciated value of the roof.

Finding the roof leak

It is important to find the source of the roof leak as soon as possible in order to reduce damages. You can search for entry points, such as cracked shingles. We also recommend checking your attic. Once you find the source of the roof leak, get a bucket underneath the leak to catch water. Do not put the bucket right on the ceiling tile or drywall, as the bucket can fall through when it's heavy enough. Put a piece of wood across the ceiling joists and place the bucket on top of that. Check the bucket frequently to see if it needs to be emptied.

How to file a roof leak claim

If you have to file a home insurance claim for a roof leak, it can be one more stressful process along with all the other issues you're taking care of because of the roof. Taking a step-by-step approach can ease your mind in this trying time:

  1. Document every step. If you do decide to go forward with the roof claim, document every step of the cleanup. Your home insurance provider will need these to assess your claim. Take photographs of the damage. Also keep any receipts for work you have done to prevent further damage in order to get compensated for it.
  2. Ensure no more damage occurs. Take any steps you need to prevent more damage from occurring. To mitigate damage already done, remove belongings to an area of the house untouched by the leak. Roll up damaged rugs or carpets and move them away from water, as well. Do not throw anything away until an adjuster can look at it. It's also a good idea to mop whatever standing water you can find and use fans to help dry out the area.
  3. Contact your contractor and insurance company. Contact a licensed contractor as soon as possible to get an estimate on the leak repair. Your home insurer will need this to fulfill your claim. Contact your insurer to start the roof claim process. Let them know the steps you have taken thus far. They will then send out an adjuster to assess the leak.

If your home insurance company denies your roof leak claim

If the claim on your roof leak is denied, there are still steps you can take to see if your home insurance provider will reconsider:

  1. Collect all documentation of the leak, repair and claim process for reference.
  2. Read your claim denial letter again closely. If the printed reason for the denial does not relate to the roof's damage, refer to it in a letter to your home insurance company.
  3. It's possible that the reason for the claim denial was due to a miscommunication. If your claim denial letter gives an indication that this happened, note the error in your letter. Only focus on the parts of the denial that are in error.
  4. It's a good idea to also hire a public claims adjuster. A public adjuster is an excellent resource in the event of a home insurance claim denial. The main job of a public adjuster is to advocate for you to your home insurance provider for the best claim possible. They can also help you with all the claims-related paperwork.

If you feel like you've hit a wall with your claim denial, a lawyer specializing in insurance claim disputes is always an option. However, if your insurance denial is based around the extent or value of the property damage involved, a public adjuster should be enough.

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